Sunday, February 06, 2011

Things That Make You Go "What?"

I'm sorry, I can't hear you.

Only according to the ear doctor- the one in town who is supposed to be super-good- I can hear you just fine. Except that I can't seem to hear. Is it hair in my ears? Or random wax? Funny, I was in the ear doc's office because my family doctor eliminated those things already. But my audiology tests came back perfectly normal, so obviously I can hear, right? Right?

What? I didn't catch that.

I took my mom with me. I'm glad I had a witness, or I would have thought I was crazy. The ear doctor sure seemed to think I was. The only suggestion he had was that maybe I was having trouble with "background noise", an auditory processing issue; but he didn't want to give me that test, because hey, what could we do about that, anyway?

What? I can't hear you. Can you repeat that again?

I'm not saying there isn't some possibility for this theory. I thought about when I have the hardest time hearing. After a summer of fluid in my ears (which the ear doc says couldn't have been fluid in my ears, because it is really rare for adults to have fluid in their ears, it must have been hair or wax or something like that, even though I had a doctor check out my ears and apparently my ear canals are particularly clean), I started having trouble. During, in fact, but I attribute the during to the "fluid" (which, by the way, hurts, and can cause my ears to become sensitive to high-pitched sounds like boy squeals. It was a long summer). My mom noticed it. She found talking to me in the car, I sometimes didn't even know she had spoken. My students noticed it. They have to repeat themselves a lot, which they find annoying. When my doctor checked my ears, I think she thought I was being silly, too, until she tried to tell me something while she washed her hands, and it was obvious I didn't hear her.

What's the connection there? Sure enough, noise. The staticy white noise: the rush of the road and wind in the car, even with the windows up, plus the heater blowing. In my class, I am video linked to another classroom, and for reasons unknown, they placed the microphone next to the heater/air conditioner, so that there is a constant sound of blowing air or static in my classroom. The sound of the running water with the aerator. Like TV snow.

It may not explain the occasional pain, why it seems to come and go (I have days I can hear better than others, and sometimes it is one ear, sometimes the other, sometimes both), or why it suddenly appeared. But it is interesting as a theory.

So, the good news is that apparently, my ears work. The bad news is I still can't hear you.



farmwifetwo said...

My Oma had trouble with the nerve the ran below the ear - trying to remember it's been about 15yrs since she passed away. I believe they can deaden it with saline. I think Mom had it done to some of the nerves in her back.... I don't know anymore than that... sorry.

Hearing aids increase background noise not funnel it out.

Sounds extremely frustrating. Hope atleast the pain stops soon.

Stimey said...

That is so frustrating. I have had trouble hearing from ear infections or whatever occasionally over the years, and it is one of the worst things to get used too. I wish they had a better answer for you. :(

Mama said...

I actually have this exact same problem. I CAN hear, but my brain does not process the background noise or filter it out properly. My audiologist actually did recommend that I get hearing aid. The normal $200 hearing aids don't filter out background noise, but the fancy $3000 dollar hearing aids are like crazy small computers and they actually sense the background noise levels and adjust for it. I've had pretty good luck with it. It doesn't completely solve the problem, but I can actually converse at a restaurant or watch a movie now which I could not do before at all. It's very expensive, but it made a major difference in my life. Our insurance only covered $200 of it so it was basically all out of pocket, but for me it was worth it. You might want to talk to your adudiologist about it. If you are interested, I can get you the info on the hearing aid I use so that you could check it out. They have a very good website.

Toad said...

Find another ear specialist/audiologist. I can tell you that adults can have fluid in their ears for years at a time. I got my first set of tubes in my ears at the age of 35. I went largely because I couldn't quite hear things. I could tell that someone was talking but I couldn't get the sense of it unless I was in the same room. When I got the tubes, it was a miracle. I could blow my nose without plugging my ears! I could use my CPAP machine with greater comfort. I could hear!